Throughout the book of Matthew we have seen Jesus in action as He leads by example while teaching and training the disciples. It was important that the disciples did not overlook how Jesus responded to the needs of the people around him. In the same way, readers today must be conscious of the example Jesus set in caring for the physical needs of those around us. Stories like the healing of the leper, the centurion’s boy, Jairus’ daughter and the healing of two blind men give us evidence of his authority and a practical picture of “practicing what he preaches” in order to train his disciples.
When we think about building and managing ministry teams we often look for tools that help us as we grow into an effective team. As Jesus teaches his disciples as well as the people around him through the use of parables, he is able to preach to a diverse audience. We begin to understand both the simplicities and complexities of the messages that are written through the words in each of the parables. Why did Jesus choose to speak in parables to the crowds and then only in private explain their deeper meaning to the disciples? Even the disciples asked this question of Jesus and he answers them by saying the people have not experienced the depths of the knowledge of the kingdom of God that they have. Giving the people a simple and clear picture was the only way they could begin to comprehend the complexities of the gospel message.
Matthew Henry in his commentary makes this note: “The nearer we draw to Christ, and the more we converse with him, the better acquainted we shall be with gospel mysteries.” The tools we need as leaders are right in front of us, built into the words written in scripture. In order for us to grow and draw nearer to Christ as Matthew Henry states, we must be conversing with him, spending time in his word and spending time in prayer asking for direction and understanding. The disciples had Jesus to lean on and learn from; today we have his written word that gives us direction and understanding according to his will.